Without intervention and treatment, the scars of child abuse and neglect last a lifetime and become a cycle passed on to the next generation. Our target population is any child at risk from in utero to 18 years of age. To combat child abuse in our seven-town region, The Exchange Club Parenting Skills Center provides a wide variety of comprehensive services in English, Spanish and Creole including:
- Bilingual Community ServicesSince our inception, we have recognized the growing need in our community to work with the especially isolated segments of the greater Stamford Hispanic and Haitian population. Hispanic and Haitian staff at the Center provides translation services and links to community programs in a culturally-appropriate manor. Most of these parents grew up in a culture where domestic violence is accepted. These families are in crisis due to child abuse and other family violence issues, cultural and language isolation, and lack of integration with the wider community.
- Services for Families With Special NeedsAll programs include provisions to serve clients with diagnosed mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or depression; physical illnesses such as AIDS; circumstances such as the developmental disabilities of a parent or child; families with immigration or cultural isolation issues; families where sexual abuse has occurred; families where children are being returned from foster care; adolescent parents; and families where domestic violence issues create a danger to children.
- Crisis Response ServicesThe task of the Crisis Parent Aide is to work with families considered to be at high risk. They provide immediate services to newly-referred families to stabilize the crisis situation, and to prepare the family for self-sufficiency and continuing Services. These services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in English, Spanish and Creole.
- Family Enrichment Service ProgramA DCF funded program serving only their referrals, providing a range of in-home teaching, modeling and support services to parents in order to enhance parenting competencies and to improve the parent's overall functioning and ability to care for their children.
- Differential Response SystemCommunity Support Services: A DCF funded program done in collaboration with Child and Family Guidance Center, connecting families to an array of community supports and resources to promote the safety and well-being of children and their families and to reduce the need for out-of-home placements of children and youth.
- Waiting List Support ServicesEmergency services are available for families on the waiting list. While waiting, families are invited to attend one of the Center's parenting education groups.
- Referral/Case Management ServicesThe Center's location at Franklin Commons in Stamford, as well as its participation in a collaborative model of service provision, allows the Center to facilitate the referral and wrap around process for its families, between many agencies. The Center is a member of the CRC System of Care, and works with other team members to best serve families. The Center is also affiliated with many state and local resources, which enable it to turn to a number of collaborative partner agencies to best serve each family.
- Supervised Visitation ServicesThis is the only program of its kind in the greater Stamford area. This program provides supervised visitation and parenting coaching for families where a child has been removed from a family due to abuse/neglect, and the family is undergoing treatment, hoping to have the child returned from foster care. Referrals for this program come from the State Department of Children and Families, who refer families where abuse has already taken place; and the local Court, who refer families where there is abuse, or is at risk for abuse, due to divorce or domestic violence.
- Nurturing Parenting ProgramThis program is provided in a group format it uses a variety of tools to help disadvantaged parents and children increase empathy for each other, build family morals and values, praise desirable behavior, teach appropriate discipline without violence, explore choices and consequences, and encourage positive family learning experiences.
- School based Parent leadership groupsThis program is provided in the local school system, it teaches parents to communicate effectively with teachers, their children and other community resources in order to meet the diverse needs of their children. This program gives them a voice and in the end they take over and run other groups of their own helping their community!
- The Parent ProjectThis program works with parents of high risk teens teaching them social and communication skills, tutoring them, improving their grades and attendance in school, helps them to focus on their futures by helping them create a vision for themselves (i.e. college or technical schools) and prevents teen violence with anger management and gang prevention education. This program is provided in collaboration with the youth service bureau and the office of probation for juveniles. This program is conducted in group format.
- Cultural and Religious SensitivityAll staff work with families to foster personal control and responsibility for their own lives, and the lives of their children, within the framework of their cultural and religious heritage. Staff responds appropriately to diversity, and teach families more adaptive behaviors which are consistent with their culture, but will also help them adapt in their broader social environment, and the community they now resides in.